Peter Relan is best known for his gaming and mobile incubator YouWeb, which spawned Crowdstar, Agawi, Spaceport, OpenFeint and others. Today, the serial entrepreneur is announcing that YouWeb will no longer be incubating any additional companies, and Relan will be moving on to a new venture.
With this move, Relan will be sunsetting the operational roles he took across a number of companies he co-founded. For example, he stepped in as the CEO of Crowdstar in 2011, and stepped down from the role last fall. He will remain in a chairman role of his companies, he tells us.
YouWeb had differed from other accelerators in that it was extremely early-stage, almost pre-Y Combinator incubator. YouWeb chose individuals based on talent, and entrepreneurs came in with no team, business model or idea. The individual was given $100,000, and developed a business or app in-house, with Relan advising the startup along the way. YouWeb usually incubated about two entrepreneurs per year.
OpenFeint was acquired by GREE a few years ago for over $100 million, and Facebook acqui-hired the team behind Spaceport. Mobile gaming company CrowdStar is still alive, having raised another $11 million in new funding last year. In total, Relan says that YouWeb companies raised $60 million in capital, and saw $120 million in three exits.
He adds that YouWeb generated three times the cash multiple for investors (YouWeb raised around $2 million in outside funding). YouWeb won’t be shut down entirely, as the entity will still have ownership in the incubator’s startups. But the entire YouWeb team will be moving to Relan’s new company.
With all of the YouWeb companies now matured to full-fledged companies, Relan is setting his sights on something larger. He plans to expand the concept of YouWeb at a larger scale, and will be launching a studio-like organization that goes beyond mobile gaming. He adds that the new company will give greater focus on mentorship, not on co-founding or operational roles. “I was an operational co-founder and now I will become a mentor,” he explains.
We’re seeing more and more serial entrepreneurs are forgoing traditional VC roles in favor of creating company-building studios. As Relan tells us, his new venture will have a slightly different take on this model by focusing on mentorship. Stay tuned.